Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moussaoui jury reject death penalty

' Al-Qaeda plotter' Zacarias Moussaoui is to face life in jail, rather than execution, for his role in the 9/11 attacks, a US jury has decided. The prosecution had called for the death sentence, arguing that "there is no place on this good Earth" for him.

But defence lawyers successfully argued he should face life in prison, rather than martyrdom through execution. The judge is bound to hand down the jail sentence. Moussaoui is the only man prosecuted in the US over 9/11. Although he was in jail at the time of the attacks, prosecutors claimed he told lies to allow the plot to continue.

Crazy Terrorist or simply mentally ill ?

CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin offered his immediate anylasis of the verdict

"His connection to the attacks is -- it's not zero, as the jury found -- but it's not that strong. And the thing that got him convicted or got him to this stage -- he pleaded guilty -- is his insane, self-defeating testimony that may have been some sort of bid for martyrdom.But the actual evidence that the government presented was really not that strong."

"One interpretation of that is that he's simply crazy. Another interpretation is that he is simply an al Qaeda soldier who wants to see Americans die and he's acting perfectly rationally. This is one of the issues very much in front of the jury."